Mr Richard Werly, European Bureau Chief for Swiss Daily “Le Temps”
15 Oct 2009
ASEF Conference Room
The European Union is ASEAN’s first overall trading partner and biggest source of foreign direct investments. In 2008, the total trade between EU and ASEAN amounted to € 134.6 billion, and investments from EU to ASEAN have also seen strong growth. With the growing economic partnership, EU and ASEAN have entered into negotiations for an FTA in 2007.Eco-tourism, as a niche sector of Tourism, has been identified as one of the key areas for deeper cooperation.
Thailand, who is eyeing the conclusion of an EU-Thailand FTA, has been sold on the beneficial spillover effects of the FTA on tourism. She is gearing up to explore ways and opportunities for developing sustainable and community-based tourism. As one of the efforts towards developing sustainable eco-tourism, the Thai authorities with the support of UNEP and Greenpeace have commissioned the production of the first guidebook on Ecotourism entitled “Travel Green Thailand”. Besides giving foreign visitors plenty of useful travel advice and tips, the guidebook also highlights the benefits of a stronger EU-ASEAN cooperation in this field of sustainable tourism, importing some of the standards, norms and good practices developed within the European Union. Examples range from “Homestay” accommodation to national parks management.
“Travel Green Thailand” is viewed as a first step of a future Southeast Asian collection of Eco-tourism guidebooks and manuals, making itself a platform for future cooperation between the various stakeholders in the development of a more sustainable, low carbon emissions Tourism. Mr Richard Werly, the main author of “Travel Green Thailand”, will be sharing his insights and perspectives on an area of cooperation that the EU and ASEAN could potentially develop and deepen for sustainable development of the Southeast Asian region.
The event was co-organised by EU Centre with Asia-Europe Foundation and Singapore Institute of International Affairs. It was held at ASEF conference room and was attended by 30 participants.